Local China Times today printed a small column proposing that students of elementary and high schools not wear uniform. Wearing uniform or not has been a controversy among school administrators, teachers, parents, and students.
Those who contend that students wear uniform say that it is for easy management of student behaviors and fairness. The uniform functions as a restriction of student's external behavior and a symbol of equality. Those who oppose assert that it is more important to note what students are thinking in their young minds instead of just asking them to be uniformed. In their opinion, wearing uniform strips away students valuable chances to learn autonomy and independency.
However, the uniform issue that was again raised this time by members of Taipei City Council unveiled the ugly fact that many a public school has been earning a great deal of money for years from the price difference. For example, an ordinary shirt quoted by the uniform contractor at NT$185 would be sold NT$300 to students. As this has been practiced for years, no one really knows the true number of the total amount each school has now accumulated. Under heavy fire from the council members accusing that school administrators see parents as their teller machine, some schools said that the money was used as scholarship or subsidy for school expenses, and some said they were willing to refund the difference to the students.
School is supposed to be a place where students are educated to learn how things should be done correctly and justly. How can schools continue playing their vital social role if they are as corrupt as those people whom the teachers tell students not to follow under any circumstances after they graduate when they step into the society to start their lives?
To schools what is essential is never to make all the students appear the same as what the basic function of uniform is prescribed. Let students wear whatever they like.